What is Demobilisation?

Introduction

Demobilisation is the process of standing down a nation’s armed forces from combat-ready status.

Background

This may be as a result of victory in war, or because a crisis has been peacefully resolved and military force will not be necessary. The opposite of demobilisation is mobilisation. Forceful demobilisation of a defeated enemy is called demilitarisation.

In the final days of World War II, for example, the United States Armed Forces developed a demobilisation plan which would discharge soldiers on the basis of a point system that favoured length and certain types of service. The British armed forces were demobilised according to an “age-and-service” scheme.

The phrase demob happy refers to demobilisation and is broadly applied to the feeling of relief at imminent release from a time-serving burden, such as a career. In the Russian language it is known as dembel and has become a certain tradition in the Soviet and post-Soviet Armed Forces. A United States equivalent is “short-timer’s disease”, comparable to “senioritis” among United States high school students.

Other Uses

In professional diving, demobilisation is the dismantling, packing and transport back to storage of the diving spread, and where relevant, restoring the site to initial condition. Mobilisation is the converse process.

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